August 1, 2017 (Mashpee, MA)
After ten years of keen vision and strong leadership, Executive Director, Barbara Cotton departs Cape Cod Children’s Museum. During her tenure, she has transformed this cherished Mashpee non-profit from a charming local attraction to a mid-sized, Cape-wide known and beloved institution that serves families with children under the age of ten. Cotton fondly remembers, “When I first got involved with the museum, it was fifteen years ago as the Chair for a newly formed Friends Group under the direction of Barbara Milligan, who is presently the CEO for the Cape and Islands United Way. At that time, we raised awareness creating family friendly programs that have since become signature events that raise a lot of money to serve over 55,000 annual visitors. I am proud to have served in a number of roles (member, volunteer and board member) that positioned me to spearhead the organization, and to do so for ten glorious years.” With an amazing dedicated staff, the Cape Cod Children’s Museum presents over a dozen weekly programs, partners with a number of local agencies and creatively leverages grant funding that continually strengthens families and the Cape Cod community.
Last fall, after a rigorous application process, Cotton was selected as one of 16 finalists to participate in the Cape’s coveted inaugural “Institute for Nonprofit Practice” through Tufts University, with scholarships provided by Cape Cod Five, Eastern Bank, the Cape Cod Foundation, the United Way of Cape Cod and the Islands and both the Bilezikian Family and Tower Foundations. Cotton adds, “To have been chosen by the Cape’s leading funders, and have had the opportunity to work closely with the directors of the nonprofits who dedicate themselves daily to making an impact on our community was both an honor and a monumental testimony to the powerful idea that the more we give, the more we have to give. We shared challenges, best practices, offered support and triumphed in each other’s successes. We learned that together, we can move mountains. This program was the impetus to step outside my own comfort zone, and prepare myself for my next great challenge because, at the end of my life, I want to say that I have used every single bit of talent God gave me!
Since her departure two weeks ago, Cotton has been receiving letters of commendation for her work from across the Cape and across the state. “It’s humbling, really,” states Cotton. I do what I do because I believe that it matters; that it makes a difference. This community has entrusted and empowered me to be an advocate for children and families. When we receive recognition for that, whether it is a note or an email or a donation check, it validates the mission and the work, and motivates us to ‘keep on keeping on!’”